Home » Air » China seeks drones to monitor islands

China seeks drones to monitor islands

by defensetech on September 24, 2012

BEIJING — China said Monday that it plans to use unmanned drones to conduct marine surveillance by 2015 as it tries to increase its presence around uninhabited East China Sea islands at the center of a dispute with Japan.

While still years away, the planned deployment comes as relations between the sides continue to be roiled by fury in China over the Japanese government’s purchase of the islands this month from their private Japanese owners.

As part of efforts to contain the fallout, Japan on Monday dispatched a vice foreign minister to meet with his Chinese counterpart for talks on the state of relations between the countries.

Li Mousheng, a spokesman for China’s State Oceanic Administration, said the decision to deploy drones followed a successful test Sunday. He offered no details on the test, but cited state media reports that said China aims to have drones and monitoring bases in place by 2015.

The reports didn’t say when the drones would be deployed around the islands, called Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan. China has been aggressively developing unmanned aircraft for both civilian and military purposes, with missions ranging from guiding missile strikes to monitoring grain crops.

Chinese outrage over the Japanese government’s purchase of the islands sparked days of sometimes violent street protests in scores of cities around China. Numerous informal boycotts of Japanese products have been launched and China has dispatched government marine monitoring vessels to patrol around the islands.

Taiwan, which has an overlapping claim, has registered a formal protest. On Monday, several dozen Taiwanese fishing boats set out for the islands from the east coast port of Suao in what was being termed an apolitical protest to protect access to traditional fishing grounds.

– Associated Press

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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Musson September 24, 2012 at 10:07 am

I was in Charleston, SC this weekend and someone was trying out a variety of drones. I saw a six propeller helicoper and a much larger triangular shaped drone flying over Ft. Sumpter that reminded me of the old Beechcraft Starship airplane.


Andy September 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm

China seeks drones that made for WALMART.


octopusmagnificens September 24, 2012 at 10:45 am

SLBMs, stealth fighters, drones… China is becoming a superpower. You have to respect its sphere of influence.


Obama September 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm



Tiger September 26, 2012 at 12:20 am

Already A superpower…..


SecretSquid September 24, 2012 at 11:51 am

Interesting that the UAV acquisition is by China's State Oceanic Administration, rather than PLANAF. China's civil maritime agencies are playing an expanded role in China's increasingly assertive enforcement of its claims to disputed maritime territories. South China Sea is now "Lebensraum with Chinese characteristics."


blight_ September 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm

It's possible they're trying to make it look less intimidating by suborning UAV control to what could be a civilian agency. Or it's just a means of hiding UAVs in other departments.

Depends on POV.


Scott September 24, 2012 at 11:57 am

I will have much more respect for China's military power if they stop using Whitewall tires from the 1950s on their state of the art military vehicles.


blight_ September 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Insurgents probably mock parade drills and peacetime practices which are painfully different from wartime practices.

"Why do you train for what you don't do in combat?"


Obama September 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm

why fight when you can just scare them off?


Bill September 24, 2012 at 4:44 pm

I kinda dig the tires… Japanese knock-offs?


Brandon September 25, 2012 at 10:36 am

Perhaps they are thinking the touch of class and style will help them influence the morale of troops and the enemy. Hmm I rather fancy those tires, what a marvelous looking vehicle, I suppose I wont damage or destroy it but the one next to it instead.


Lance September 24, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Funny monitor islands that are so tiny they unlikely could hold a barracks for 50 troops.


Nick September 24, 2012 at 5:04 pm

If you legally "own" it, you own 10 miles in every direction from shore, that is what people are interested in, not the physical islands themselves.


STemplar September 24, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Actually a great deal farther potentially. It all has to do with land masses extending under the ocean and EEZs, although China isn't bothering with established international standards when it comes to the south China sea.

China's claims are ridiculous. It would be like the mayor of Rome laying claim to the southern half of Great Britain because the Roman Empire maps clearly show it to be theirs.


blight_ September 25, 2012 at 4:42 pm

The Romans did withdraw from Britannia, so they forfeited those claims


Srsly September 25, 2012 at 6:09 pm

So Britain and U.S. can claim islands all over the world, but China has no right on their own islands right at their own footsteps and midst of their fishing grounds they claimed for centuries, because U.S. recently handed forcefully stolen Chinese islands back to the thief instead the owner?


blight_ September 25, 2012 at 6:54 pm

There's Chinese records of the islands in the 1500s, along with Japanese names. The British show up too and call them the Pinnacles after the local powers do. Japan "formally annexes" in the 1890's, whatever that means…

Infrastructure is built on one of the islands in the 1900s by Japan. Island is occupied post-WW2, then handed back to Japan in 1972 (along with the Ryukus).

With respect to "first one there", it would be China. The good question is if the claim goes to the People's Republic of China or Taiwan. Taiwan is continuous in terms of authority, but the functional state of the People's Republic of China is representative of the historical entity of China, and if there is a non-Japanese claim it is more likely to go to the PRC.

The Japanese took the islands and established infrastructure. The fact that the KMT wasn't able to haggle out or get the islands in a post-war concession is rather interesting. I wonder if the original plan was to return the Senkakus to KMT-controlled China until the CCW broke out? We'll never know.

Establishment of civilian facilities may give Japan better leverage in arbitration…so we'll see. I can't imagine that splitting the islands would work either.

DShirley September 25, 2012 at 4:05 pm

The issue is over oil reserves


Busteroo52 September 24, 2012 at 3:36 pm

I just don't get it. With all the stuff going on in both countries, especially CHINA…having to provide food for all their people, energy needs, buying what is left of Aftica and the Mideast for sale, snark snark…..Afterall….the Japanese OWNED them to begin with….only the gov. bought them from private owners….so what is all the damn fuss…..jeeeeshh…some countries, their cultures are just so different than ours…seems kinda crazy sometimes….and then again…sometimes it is!! :-)


Cylon September 24, 2012 at 4:41 pm

That's a very sophisticated foreign policy statement. Do you work for the Romney campaign?


JohnWayne September 24, 2012 at 4:47 pm

If who owned something first mattered, the US would have to hand itself back to the injuns.


DShirley September 25, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Japan never really "owned" them to begin with….the imperial Japanese military "occupied" by force when China was weak militarily. The US took over the islands after the defeat of the imperial Japanese forces and we handed the islands over to the new democratic Japanese gov't. The Chinese also claim Okinawa. The island under contention are much closer in distance to mainland China than Japan. Oil reserves were first mentioned in the late 1960s in that area, and now that China has emerged as a global power with some capability to flex its muscle, it is seeking to solidify control over that oil to fuel its growing economy.


john September 24, 2012 at 5:32 pm

I am SO digging those white wall tires…I want some!!!


DShirley September 25, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Bet you $10,000 the UAVs are toy mockups!


Marcellus Hambrick September 24, 2012 at 7:59 pm

As i tell my friends in the US defense industry the US is responsible for the rapid advance of the Chinese military. We buy their products that allow them to build their military and they steal whatever else they need.


Rob September 25, 2012 at 1:17 am

No worries everyone, Japan will build a Godzilla robot to take these drones out :D


Nick September 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Dude, they are FLYING DRONES, it'll be Rodan!


tiger September 26, 2012 at 12:09 am

My money is on Mothra getting the call.


doc young September 27, 2012 at 7:13 pm

why not have both RODAN & MOTHRA go after the drones and then get the “Stealth Fighter” too while they’re at it ?


JJ6000 September 25, 2012 at 1:33 am

Rather than monitoring islands, I would think it's very likely that these drones actually form part of the ASBM system - giving the chinese the ability to locate and target US carrier groups. I would expect to see the chinese develop an even more extensive drone network for "monitoring" or "scientific" purposes.


tiger September 26, 2012 at 12:10 am

There is only one & it's based in Japan. Not hard to track at all.


doningram September 25, 2012 at 11:25 am

this is not 1941. the position of a majority of the USA vessels are monitored and recorded, by other means, so the idea of drones to watch for shipping is only a small part of the picture. the drones are what they are: unmanned weapons with long range flight and weapon inventory. china's sphere of influence is the ? as they are located more than the proverbial 200 miles from mainland china. japan is much closer. there is a hugh possibility that this is all a bunch of saber rattling as neither can afford a conflict due to trade $$. the loss of revenue from the USA is astronomical and we have their money in our pockets. the white walled tires give them more MPG "try it"


blight_ September 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm

"the position of a majority of the USA vessels are monitored and recorded, by other means"

By the immense number of spy planes? OTH radar? Innumerable spy planes?

You need an immense ISR complex to monitor an entire ocean. Those drones look awful small and may not have the loiter time for days or the sensor payload to be effective.


yoyo September 25, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I think a danger here is more collisions a la the 2001 P-3 debacle.


blight_ September 25, 2012 at 1:52 pm

That was a deliberate attempt to intimidate an American aircraft that ended in a collision.

Or some might call it an deliberate attempt to take down an American craft, where the pilot ejected and was expected to be picked up…but never picked up.


yoyo September 25, 2012 at 10:07 pm

I thought the Chinese pilot was killed.


blight_ September 25, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Pilot ejected, but wasn't recovered.


orly? September 25, 2012 at 5:18 pm

I thought we shouldn't fear the Chinese?

Asia's not important right?


Hunter76 September 25, 2012 at 8:20 pm

"Pinnacle Islands" was good enough for the British Navy in the 19th c. It'll do for me. Let the Chinese and the Japanese fight whether it's Diaoyu or Senkaku. It's not about the islands, it's about the seafloor and payback.


Ron September 25, 2012 at 10:34 pm

We are not having the short end of the stick should we end up knocking the Great Wall of China, we have allies that wants a piece of pie, don't think India will sit in idle or even Russia the point is China will go solo if we reach the point of no return plus China knows the US military might, they will have the short end of the stick if the test us, guaranteed.


tiger September 26, 2012 at 12:14 am

Might my ass…… Hate to burst the bubble, but 10 years of action have shown we are not exactly mighty. Tired, broke & in need of reforming.


Roland September 26, 2012 at 9:14 am

It is most likely Japan and China,; and Iran and Israel will end up into conflict.. And we (US and NATO) may end up being drag from it. We (US) should prepare physically and spiritually.


orly? September 26, 2012 at 11:57 am

Multiple wars on multiple fronts simultaneously?

You know how many people here keep saying China would never do that?


Vin September 26, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Walmart is having a sale on Chinese made drones


blight_ September 26, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Walmart's always selling something Chinese-made.


Malik November 18, 2012 at 5:51 am

I’m still reading, Amanda! But it’s unarestanddble that momentum will flag in the face of other projects and ideas and work and life. Now that my course blog is just a personal blog, my energy has definitely diminished: I was writing long posts with lots of links before, perhaps because I thought I had a captive audience at the time (some of the students in the seminar), but now I’m barely able to post a link to some news story every couple weeks. So it goes. But as long as your blog lives, it lives happily among my bookmarks.


Aegistech77 September 26, 2012 at 8:39 pm

We have fought multiple fronts before.. Funny thing is our real deterrants are not even factored in yet.. You think china knows were are ssbn’s are?? Comon.. Might indeed we still are..


Aegistech77 September 26, 2012 at 8:40 pm

We have fought multiple fronts before.. Funny thing is our real deterrants are not even factored in yet.. You think china knows were are ssbn’s are? Comon.. Might indeed we still are.


Matrix3692 September 27, 2012 at 1:47 am

the news of the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning is all over the chinese news, i thought DT are interested in that topic.


doc young September 27, 2012 at 7:12 pm

We DO NOT WANT CHINA WITH DRONES!!!! First off they say that the drones are for their Maritime Division of Government, (Thinly veiled mask for PLAN) Second, the islands are in the EAST China Sea , they have historical claims by China, Japan, The Phillipines, and a host of others. Third, who are they really looking for ? The fishing boats from Viet-Nam, The Phillipines, Cambodia, Bangladesh,Japan, Sri-Lanka, Australia ? WHO????? Or are they looking for US Military??????


blight_ September 27, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Objectively, what's the loiter time on these drones?

If they devise a submarine aircraft carrier that can fly drones, maybe we'll have something.

Find the radome up top interesting. Could it indicate that they want it for OTH radar purposes?


Stephen September 27, 2012 at 11:54 pm

I think the WW tyres are very cool, they need something cool because when you look at the CN government agencies as a whole they are all a bunch of deceptive thugs.. The only thing that works from the top to the bottom is back handers and I hope everyone realises this, when was the last time you got something honest out of China…
I think the US government should stop all money transactions stateside to china for three business days then see who gets really worried…..



Obama September 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm



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